100-year-old enters Guinness Book of World Records in 100-meter dash

CHESNEE - A tiny middle school in the Upstate has placed itself on the world map, with the help of a remarkable 100-year-old lady.

A few days ago, Ella Mae Colbert, who celebrated her 100th
 birthday on May 11, broke the Guinness Book of World Records mark in the 100-meter dash.  She ran the distance in an unofficial time of 46.791 seconds, shattering the old mark for her age group (80 and older) by half a minute.

Wearing a bandage on her chin from a fall on her first start, Colbert nonetheless set the new Guinness record at the Chesnee Middle School track, alongside her nephew, Paul Humphries.

"After she fell, I asked her if she still wanted to do this," Humphries said. "She said 'let's go.' We got her a bandage and she did it."

A large crowd of family, friends and fans cheered on the retired Spartanburg District 2 school teacher, with Charlotte Flights Timing there to help document the run.



Colbert said she's "blessed" to be able to do what she does - she still drives a car, gardens, and "keeps moving."
  But, she shakes off living beyond 100. 

"It's just a number with me. Everybody counts the numbers, but I don't." she said.

The Chesnee native taught elementary and middle school for 36 years, all in Spartanburg District 2.
  She's been running since high school.  

"It's the young people that keep me going," Colbert said. "They're always encouraging me to keep going."
  Colbert said she hopes she is motivating them, by example.

Colbert said wasn't thinking about setting any records until her nephew brought it up earlier this month.
  Humphries said he was watching the Penn Relays, where 100-year-old Ida Keeling of New York broke the 80-and-older mark in the 100.

"The first thing I thought was Ella Mae can break that record," Humphries said. He then mentioned the idea to Colbert.
 

"She was pretty excited about it," he said, telling her no to "overdo it" and just run at her normal pace.

Humphries, who ran track while a student at Wofford College in the mid-90s, accompanied his aunt on her Guinness Book record run.

Colbert said Thursday she's taking a short break from her running to allow her chin to heal and to rest, not so much from the record run but from all the attention she's received this week.

"I've gotten calls from NBC, CBS, FOX, CNN, all those people," she said.

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